Thanks to its historical background the Antalya region enjoys a rich culture and ethnography. In addition to the characteristics of settled cultures, the local people also synthesised the characteristics of the yörük (nomadic) culture, thus establishing a unique culture of their own. The migration of the local people from the shore towards the uplands on the Taurus mountains because of the excessive temperature during summers created a need as such, forcing them to produce the needs of the yörük culture in addition to the products grown on the coast. These people, owning herds of sheep and goats before everything else, first produced felt tents from the wool of these domestic animals in order to shelter themselves on the uplands and, alongside this, specialised in the production of animal produce such as milk, butter and cheese. They dried various fruits in the mountains and made jams and pickles with them, and made molasses from grapes. 40 different types of jam are made in the region including, primarily, bitter orange, bergamot, quince, apricot, apple, eggplant, watermelon, fig, wild strawberry, black mulberry and blackberry.
Moreover, besides the livestock farming, dairy produce and hunting, the local people migrating to the uplands on the Taurus mountains also valued handicrafts and mainly wove the famous Döşemealtı Carpets of the area. These medium sized carpets are dyed using natural madder and are generally red, dark blue and green. With pure wool warp and weft, these carpets feature five stone, camel’s foot, branch and cross motifs. The yörüks (nomads) adorn their houses, tents, saddle- and domestic animals and new-born babies with a blue eye stone against the evil eye according to the old Turkish rules and customs in order to protect themselves from the darkness of the night and all ill-luck.
Today, in the villages on the hills of the Taurus mountains known as Döşemealtı, rugs, provisions sacks, socks and various household covers are woven along with elegant crochet-work embroidery. In Akseki small household utensils such as wooden spoons are carved out of box tree wood. All of these authentic local products are sold in restored commercial buildings and souvenir shops in the city, such as Tek Kapılı Han, Alarahan, Serapsu Han and Bedesten. As for contemporary produce, all kinds of jewellery, gold handicrafts, silver, ready-to-wear leather produce, hand-woven Turkish carpets, international textile trademarks and all kinds of souvenirs are on sale in the shopping centres around the airport and at the Festival Market, Migros and Liman Megacentres. Antalya’s most famous local dishes include Piyaz, made with tahini (crushed sesame seeds), garlic, walnuts and boiled dried beans, spicy hibeş with mixed cumin and tahini, şiş köfte, tandır kebap, domates civesi, şakşuka and various cold Mediterranean dishes with olive oil.
Dönerciler Çarşısı is an authentic spot where the local dishes are found. There are fish restaurants, where all types of seafood are served, in Doğu Garajı, Meltem Çarşısı and on Lara and Konyaaltı beaches. Moreover, Döner Gazino and Restaurant located on Tünek Tepe present a splendid panorama of Antalya. Antalya folklore includes zeybek dances to music generally played on the saz, with wooden spoons, small drums and the tambourine. On parts of the Taurus mountains religious folk dances, called sema, are performed by yörüks. Yörüks also have instrumental-only folk dance tunes, called “boğaz” tunes. Antalya today is a world tourism and cultural centre with its tourism potential increasing every year. With its numerous accommodation centres, restaurants and tourism activities from Alanya to Fethiye it serves both summer and winter tourism.
Various international fairs are organised in the city every year, primarily being the tourism fair at the Expo Centre and the food and beverage fairs aimed at tourism, such as Touristic Enterprises equipment. Among the important artistic and cultural activities are the International Golden Orange Film Festival organised every year, Classical Music Festivals organised at Aspendos Theatre, exhibitions, concerts, seminars, conferences and colloquiums for tourists, organised at the Glass Pyramid and the Atatürk Cultural Centre. The city also enjoys the amenities of modern life thanks to its modern theatres, art houses, exhibition halls and symphony orchestra.